Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge makes first transatlantic crossing

November 18, 2018

Celebrity Edge (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

The following is a press release from Celebrity Cruises:

The game-changing Celebrity Edge has officially arrived at the new home of modern luxury – Port Everglades’ Terminal 25 (T25) in Hollywood, Fla. – following the ship’s first-ever, 15-day transatlantic crossing.

Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Richard D. Fain, said: “The arrival of Celebrity Edge today book-ends a major chapter in the growth of Celebrity Cruises. It’s the culmination of years of dreaming, designing and dedication to bring this magnificent ship to life. A new era is truly upon us.”

Viewing this momentous occasion from the bridge of Celebrity Edge with Fain, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, added: “The completion of her first-ever transatlantic crossing and arrival at T25 marks such a historic moment for Celebrity Cruises. This has been more than four years in the making. The collaboration and effort between teams across the world all comes together in this incredible moment. I can think of no better place to be than with Captain Costas and the crew of Celebrity Edge knowing that we are sailing into the future, literally and figuratively, with this beautiful ship.”

Adorning the decks as Celebrity Edge entered the channel for the first time, more than 1,400 excited crew members waved to a sea of shoreside colleagues who gathered to welcome the ship and her crew to their new home at an exclusive welcome event hosted at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center — a fitting debut for Celebrity’s first new ship in six years and the first of a new class in more than a decade.

After the arrival of Celebrity Edge at T25, Lutoff-Perlo and Fain then hosted a grand opening ceremony in the revolutionary new terminal. Attended by key brand executives and esteemed Broward County and City of Hollywood officials, the dramatic ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official grand opening of the first terminal designed exclusively for the Celebrity brand, dubbed the new home of modern luxury.

Brought to life in collaboration with Broward County’s Port Everglades, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. and Moss Construction, T25 melds a stunning, warmly inviting design with unique technology, such as Expedited Arrival, which will make the check-in process absolutely seamless, as well as an interactive light wall art installation. T25 will also offer The Retreat guests a singular experience along the path to The Retreat, with an exclusive lounge, elevator lobbies, screening areas and even a private rooftop terrace.

Celebrity Edge embarked on the more-than 4,000-mile transatlantic voyage from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on November 4, 2018, with more than 1,400 crew members on board. Along the way, the cutting-edge new ship visited ports in both Azores, Portugal, and Freeport, Bahamas.

Celebrity Edge begins her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries, with her Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on December 9, 2018, and her Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on December 16, 2018. Then, in spring of 2019, Celebrity Edge crosses the Atlantic again to offer guests stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings visiting iconic cities, including Barcelona and Rome.

Bookings for Celebrity Edge are now open at www.celebritycruises.com/edge or through a travel advisor. Celebrity Edge will be joined by her sister ship, Celebrity Apex, in 2020, and two additional ships in the Edge Series will follow in 2021 and 2022.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Flora debuts glamping experience

November 8, 2018

Celebrity Flora
Celebrity Flora (Images courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

The following is a press release from Celebrity Cruises:

The first ship ever designed exclusively for the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Flora, just introduced another enticing industry first: A once-in-a-lifetime camping experience on the top deck of the luxury yacht that allows guests to dine, drink, and, yes, even sleep under one of the most spectacular night skies in the world.

Celebrity Flora was specifically designed to bring our guests closer to the Galapagos Islands than ever before – from its outward-facing design that takes guests to the water’s edge, to the enhanced custom-designed Novurania yacht tenders,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “And now our new Galapagos Glamping experience gives guests an incredible opportunity to experience the destination the ship was built for, on a whole new level, under the millions of stars above.”

TREATED LIKE STARS—UNDER THE STARS
Four star-struck guests per night will be able to book the top deck onboard experience and participate in this one-night-only adventure. The reservations include two luxuriously inviting cabanas, one fitted with a double bed for sleeping, and the other for enjoying a mouthwatering, alfresco meal. Galapagos Glamping was created to break down the walls and bring guests closer than ever to this stunning destination. To help guests fully appreciate the breathtaking views this experience offers, a naturalist will also be available to highlight the stars and constellations visible from this region of the world directly from the cabana seats.

NEW VIEWS AND NEW FLAVORS
Exclusive campfire-inspired culinary delights – from cocktails to carefully selected wines to s’mores – will be specially curated for the evening, while guests gaze at the endless open skies above. Guests will have a delicious dinner served exclusively as part of the Galapagos Glamping experience. Campers will also welcome the spectacular sunrise with a full bed-side breakfast.

Modern luxury exploration in the Galapagos Islands will never be the same once Celebrity Florabegins her inaugural season, sailing alternating 10- and 11-night tours, there is also the option for guests to select a 16-night itinerary— an inner loop and outer loop — to the region’s most stunning locales in 2019 and 2020.

Based in Baltra Island in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora will make her debut sailing on May 26, 2019. Bookings are now open at www.celebritycruises.com/flora, or through a travel advisor. The exclusive Galapagos Glamping experience will be available upon request for a fee, on every Celebrity Flora sailing, subject to availability.

To learn more about the brand’s unrivaled offerings, or its industry-leading stewardship and conservation efforts in the region, visit www.celebrity.com/galapagos.

About Celebrity Cruises:
Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time. Celebrity Cruises’ 12 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents incredible cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of five cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit www.celebritycruises.com, or call your travel agent.

Princess Cruises debuts curated culinary experiences with new Bon Appétit partnership

March 15, 2018

(Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)
(Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruises announced a new culinary shore excursion program in collaboration with the number one food lifestyle brand, Bon Appétit, offering guests the opportunity to indulge in culinary experiences inspired by their surroundings while cruising to destinations around the globe.

Through this new partnership, Princess guests will receive a deepened understanding of the destinations visited through a small group, sensory journey of authentic culinary experiences drawing from the life of locals. The shore excursion offerings will immerse explorers in local ingredients and cooking styles, as well as demonstrations and tastings from local chefs and personalities, all with the goal of providing travelers a sense of renewed wonder and an opportunity for immersive destination exploration.

“As a leader in culinary excellence at sea, we seek to offer our guests hands-on, immersive culinary journeys from the destinations we visit,” said Bruce Krumrine, vice president, global shore excursions, Princess Cruises. “From scone making in the countryside of Ireland, to crafting the perfect paella on the knotted streets of medieval Spain, these newly developed experiences are sure to bring the spirit of these destinations to life for our guests.”

Guests can choose from a selection of curated tours developed in partnership with Bon Appétit, hand selected to best demonstrate the brand’s focus of “where food and culture meet.”

  • Exclusive Tours connect travelers to the tastes of the region with Exclusive Tours available only through Princess and Bon Appétit. These tailored excursions offer unparalleled opportunities to truly engage with local life in a small-group setting.
  • Recommended Tours bring the character of the places guests sail to their plate. Participants of these tours will embark on a celebration of gastronomy endorsed by the experts at Bon Appétit.

“There is a clear connection between the love of travel and experiencing food found in cultures around the world,” said Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appétit. “Collaborating with a destination leader like Princess Cruises, we’re able to bring the passion of culinary inspired journeys to guests we might not otherwise reach.”

Guests will be able to choose from 30 excursions beginning in 2018. Highlights include:

Bon Appétit Exclusive Tours
Taste of the North – Kristiansand, Norway
Classic Norwegian flavors are made modern by the head chef at Hotel Norge. Savor Norway’s history with moose steak, traditional cookies and regional wine. Then, nourish the moment over a shared lunch with fellow travelers on a tour that visits local stops of note.

Scones from Scratch – Dublin, Ireland
On this excursion, guests will journey to Ireland’s charming countryside for a cozy afternoon of scone making. Participants will learn to prepare these delicate golden treats from Catherine Fulivio*, the acclaimed chef and proprietor of Ballyknocken Cookery School, House and Restaurant. Following the lesson, guests can enjoy their creations amid the charm of a Victorian farmhouse and end the day strolling its sprawling gardens.

*subject to availability

Bon Appétit Recommended Tours
Classic CopenhagenCopenhagen, Denmark
Wind the way through Copenhagen’s reveled sights and flavors in a scenic afternoon adventure. Guests will fuel their appetites at Ferry Café with Smørrebrød, a classic, open-faced sandwich, then sightsee historic Danish palaces and castles. Stepping aboard a modern canal boat, travelers will get a chance to experience 500-year-old step-gabled homes from a new perspective, and end the day with new thrills during a visit to Tivoli Gardens, a famous theme park bursting with color.

Pacific Northwest Pairings – Astoria, Oregon
Savor a pairing the Pacific Northwest has made famous at the locally-loved restaurant, Baked Alaska. Famed for his dishes and storytelling, Chef Chris Holen will gather guests in an open kitchen where they will learn how to bring creativity to seafood dishes while sipping local wines and journeying into Astoria’s past and present.

From Mate to Malbec – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Visit Argentina’s stunning urban hub of Buenos Aires to learn the timeless tradition of empanada making. Once comfortable in the kitchen, participants will taste classic dishes like grilled provoleta cheese, sliced chorizo and steak accompanied by a glass of local Malbec wine. The excursion culminates with the opportunity for guests to make their own mate and dessert, ending the day on a sweet note.

Juneau Foodie Walking Tour – Juneau, Alaska
Travelers to the Great Land will explore their way through Juneau’s most renowned flavors during a walking tour to some of the town’s best restaurants. From award-winning crab bisque, famous fish tacos and smoked pork to tasting local Alaska beer and wine, guests will venture through the Gold Rush town on a culinary journey and stroll through downtown Juneau.

The Perfect Paella – Valencia, Spain
Soak in Valencia’s iconic sights like historic landmarks, green spaces and cathedrals, followed by a savory meal featuring one of its most iconic dishes: paella. Guided by a local chef, guests will study the preparation that brings this saffron-seasoned rice dish to plate.

Roots of RussiaSt. Petersburg, Russia
Indulge in a lesson in Russia’s past by making the classic staple of meat pies called “pelmini” at a local restaurant. Participants will pair their creation with 80-proof vodka, a storied spirit that has evolved over 500 years of history.

More information on the new Bon Appétit shore excursions can be found here.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

About Bon Appétit:
Bon Appétit is where food and culture meet. The award-winning No. 1 food lifestyle brand covers food through the lens of cooking, fashion, travel, technology, design, and home. Bon Appétit has been named to Advertising Age’s A-List for six consecutive years, including Magazine of the Year 2013 and 2017, and Brand of the Year 2015, and has been named to Adweek’s Hot List every year since 2012, including Hottest Food Magazine in 2013 and 2017. Bon Appétit has also been nominated for 23 National Magazine Awards in the past five years, including wins in 2014 for General Excellence and Photography, and in 2017 for General Excellence.

About Princess Cruises:
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided with the experience of exceptional customer service. As the world’s largest international premium cruise brand, Princess carries two million guests each year to more than 360 destinations around the globe on more than 150 itineraries ranging in length from three to 114 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK).

Travel + Leisure reveals results of 2017 World’s Best survey

July 11, 2017

Travel + Leisure has revealed the results of its 2017 World’s Best survey, as voted for by the magazine’s readers.

World’s Top Cities

1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

2. Charleston, South Carolina

3. Chiang Mai, Thailand

4. Kyoto, Japan

5. Florence, Italy

6. Oaxaca, Mexico

7. Hoi An, Vietnam

8. Cape Town, South Africa

9. Ubud, Indonesia

10. Luang Prabang, Laos

11. Santa Fe, New Mexico

12. Rome, Italy

13. Siem Reap, Cambodia

14. Udaipur, India

15. Barcelona, Spain

World’s Top Islands

1. Palawan, Philippines

2. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

3. Boracay Island, Philippines

4. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

5. Santorini, Greece

6. Maui, Hawaii

7. Kauai, Hawaii

8. Ischia, Italy

9. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

10. Bali, Indonesia

World’s Best Hotels

1. Nihi Sumba Island (formerly Nihiwatu), Indonesia

2. The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

3. Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyoming

4. Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, New Zealand

5. Gibb’s Farm, Karatu, Tanzania

6. Tswalu Kalahari, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

7. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana

8. Cavas Wine Lodge, Mendoza, Argentina

9. Inn at Willow Grove, Orange, Virginia

10. (tie) Rosewood CordeValle, San Martin, California

10. (tie) Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve, Botswana

Best International Airports

1. Singapore Changi (SIN)

2. Hamad International, Doha, Qatar (DOH)

3. Dubai International (DXB)

4. Incheon International, South Korea (ICN)

5. Hong Kong International (HKG)

6. Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH)

7. Haneda (Tokyo International) (HND)

8. Ben Gurion International, Tel Aviv (TLV)

9. Abu Dhabi International (AUH)

10. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)

Best Domestic Airports

1. Portland International, Oregon (PDX)

2. Indianapolis International (IND)

3. Tampa International, Florida (TPA)

4. John Wayne Airport, Orange County, California (SNA)

5. Austin-Bergstrom International, Texas (AUS)

6. Pittsburgh International, Pennsylvania (PIT)

7. Minneapolis – St. Paul International (MSP)

8. Savannah-Hilton Head International, Georgia (SAV)

9. Palm Beach International, Florida (PBI)

10. Dallas Love Field (DAL)

Top International Airlines

1. Singapore Airlines

2. Emirates

3. Qatar Airways

4. Cathay Pacific Airways

5. Japan Airlines (JAL)

6. Virgin Atlantic

7. Air New Zealand

8. Korean Air

9. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

10. Eva Air

Top Domestic Airlines

1. Virgin America

2. JetBlue Airways

3. Alaska Airlines

4. Hawaiian Airlines

5. Southwest Airlines

World’s Best Car Rental Agencies

1. National Car Rental

2. Enterprise Rent-A-Car

3. Hertz

4. Avis Car Rental

5. Alamo

Top Mega-ship Ocean Cruise Lines

1. Cunard

2. Disney Cruise Line

3. Princess Cruises

4. Celebrity Cruises

5. Holland America Line

6. Royal Caribbean International

7. Carnival Cruise Line

8. Norwegian Cruise Line

9. MSC Cruises

10. Costa Cruises

Top Large-ship Ocean Cruise Lines

1. Viking Cruises

2. Crystal Cruises

3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

4. Cunard

5. Oceania Cruises

6. Azamara Club Cruises

7. Princess Cruises

8. Costa Cruises

9. Celebrity Cruises

10. Holland America Line

Top Midsized-ship Ocean Cruise Lines

1. Paul Gauguin Cruises

2. Seabourn

3. Windstar Cruises

4. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

5. Silversea

Top Small-ship Ocean Cruise Lines

1. Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises

2. Ecoventura

3. Australis

4. Lindblad Expeditions

5. SeaDream Yacht Club

Top River Cruise Lines

1. Crystal River Cruises

2. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

3. Viking Cruises

4. Aqua Expeditions

5. Tauck

Princess Cruises offers savings to additional travel guests for Caribbean sailings

July 6, 2017

(Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)
(Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruises today announced a special offer for third and fourth guests to make it easy to bring family and friends onboard. For all Ocean Medallion Caribbean cruises on Regal Princess® and Royal Princess®, sailing November 2017April 2018, Princess is offering a special $99 price for third and fourth passengers.*

Princess offers a wide range of comfortable accommodations for families or groups traveling together. There is room for up to four guests in all types of staterooms — interior, balcony and mini-suites, many with interconnecting options – and each guest can enjoy the ultimate sleep at sea in the Princess Luxury Bed. Developed in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson, the bed combines the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design.

New Interactive Games & Family-Friendly Offerings

For game lovers on these Ocean Medallion Class Ships™, the following interactive games will be available.

  • Tagalong Sprint pits guests’ digital companions in a fast and fun race across the ocean floor. Guests will see who can speed across the finish line first in this rhythm-based group game.
  • This or That is an engaging, light-hearted and addictive experience that can be enjoyed by groups of all sizes. Guests will be presented with two opposing choices and vote on which to choose. Choices range from the absurd (“Pet a dinosaur or ride a shark?”) to the more on-topic (“Parasail or kayak?”), and the vote results will be displayed for all to see.

At the newly launched Camp Discovery youth center – created in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications — Princess offers a wide selection of programs and activities where kids and teens will make memories and create keepsakes while sailing on the Caribbean-bound Regal Princess and Royal Princess.

As part of the cruise line’s Discovery at Sea program, there are three center themes where kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them Discover, Play, Create and Huddle, including

  • The Treehouse, ages 3-7 (formerly Pelicans): A bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center including captivating creatures and hands-on activities for kids to focus on play time, creativity and the world around them.
  • The Lodge, ages 8-12 (formerly Shockwaves): Inspired by the great outdoors, this cozy center is filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.
  • The Beach House, for ages 13-17 (formerly Remix): Offers a contemporary surf-themed lounge, featuring a cool place for teens to hang out and socialize.

New youth and teen center programming includes MythBusters science activities with new hands-on challenges, featuring show star Tory Belleci. In addition, new Camp Discovery offers destination-themed programs focusing on the Caribbean to immerse young cruisers into the culture, nature and customs of this region.

Families will also enjoy lively concerts, sporting events and hit blockbuster films at Movies Under the Stars, a giant 300-square foot poolside movie theater. Princess makes this experience even more special with personal touches including comfortable chaise lounges and cozy blankets in the evening.

More information about O·C·E·A·N is available at ocean.com

For additional information on Ocean Medallion vacations on Princess Cruises, please visit www.Princess.Com/Ocean.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

*Offer valid on interior, balcony and mini suite cabins on seven-day cruises. Excludes holiday cruises. Third and fourth guests for 10-day cruises start from $199.

Crystal River Cruises unveils new culinary offerings for Crystal Bach ship

July 5, 2017

Crystal River Cruises
Waterside, a restaurant on Crystal Bach (Rendering courtesy of Crystal River Cruises)

The following is a press release from Crystal River Cruises:

Crystal River Cruises, the World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line, has unveiled detailed highlights of the culinary concepts and offerings to be featured aboard Crystal Bach, the first of the company’s “Rhine Class” river yachts, debuting in August. Sailing routes along the Rhine, Danube and Main Rivers, the all-balcony, all-suite vessel will offer sophisticated menus of cuisine inspired by the region, artfully crafted by a team of expert European chefs. And while the specialties themselves will be creatively designed specifically for Crystal Bach’s stunning itineraries, the philosophy of culinary excellence remains rooted in Crystal’s commitment to using the freshest ingredients sourced from local suppliers and serving dishes that authentically represent the destinations visited.

“As the first ‘Rhine Class’ river yacht, Crystal Bach will introduce a new standard of luxury in river cruising on many fronts, including the culinary concept and innovative experiences found on board,” says Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of Crystal. “While we are always pursuing new and distinctive experiences on each of our luxury vessels, our overall dedication to unsurpassed quality and abundant choices remains constant.”

Guests will dine on fresh fish and seafood from Holland, seasonal fruits and vegetables from Germany and the Netherlands, meat and poultry from farmers in Bavaria and the Austrian Alps, along with wine, beer and cheese specific to the region. Uniquely European delicacies will also be featured on the expansive menus, including sturgeon caviar from Eindhoven and river crawfish from the Rhine. Additionally, as aboard Crystal’s first luxury river ship, Crystal Mozart, coffees and teas by Julius Meinl, a prestigious Vienna-based company who has crafted the beverages since 1862, will be served on Crystal Bach.

Crystal chefs will create dishes that have been favored by local people and nobility for centuries, as well as some options that boast a modern twist on the classics. From the elegant Waterside Restaurant – the main dining room aboard Crystal River vessels – to the relaxed Bistro Café and exclusive Vintage Room, guests will find farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine that complements the cultural discoveries of their journey.

Dutch herring on dill mousse and German green split pea soup with smoked duck join other European delicacies like Dornfelder braised oxtail ragout and Boeuf Bourguignonne. Mouthwatering dishes such as truffle spring chicken cassoulet “En Croute,” broiled dover sole “Meuniere” and cold-water lobster served with a creamy leek risotto are also among the culinary palate pleasers.

A brand new dedicated selection of vegetarian dishes will also be offered aboard Crystal Bach, which will offer the same fresh and authentic approach as the overall menu.

“The culinary experience aboard all Crystal vessels is meant to inspire travelers to discover more about the world they explore, as food and the camaraderie of dining is such an integral part of the travel experience,” says Toni Neumeister, senior vice president of hotel operations. “Guests aboard Crystal Bach will not only enjoy extraordinary new and classic flavors, but also a taste of the history and culture of this beautiful region.”

In addition to the inspired cuisine served on board the luxury river yacht, guests can indulge in exclusive dining experiences at Michelin star-awarded restaurants in select destinations. Each 2017 itinerary will feature at least one opportunity to indulge in signature fare of renowned eateries ashore, the first of which will be complementary.

The vessels will be the river cruising industry’s first all-balcony, all-suite designs boasting every category of accommodation perched above the waterline. Every suite will offer Crystal’s acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines.

By sea, river, land and air, Crystal has redefined the way the world views luxury travel. Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line, having earned “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 23 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by travel professional organization Virtuoso for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 & 2016).  The newest and upcoming extensions of the celebrated Crystal brand include Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal River Cruises – The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line – Crystal AirCruises and Crystal Exclusive Class with Crystal Residences. Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the professionals of ASTA.

Princess Cruises debuts 2018-2019 Exotics sailings

May 25, 2017

(Photo collage courtesy of Princess Cruises)
(Photo collage courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruises has debuted its 2018-2019 Exotics program which will take guests to culturally rich and iconic cruise destinations around the globe. With more than 50 departures, ranging in length from three to 111 days, these worldwide cruise itineraries go on sale today.

The diverse deployment includes six ships sailing on 27 unique itineraries throughout five continents, visiting 93 destinations and 47 countries. Guests can book cruises to South America, Southeast Asia and China. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports aboard the cruise line’s small ship that will circumvent the globe on a 111-day World Cruise sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale.

“Our Exotics program offers our guests the chance to travel to intriguing destinations all over the world, allowing our guests to experience different cultures in places they’ve dreamed of visiting,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We’re proud that these award-winning itineraries make us a destination leader in the cruise industry.”

Exotics deployment highlight include:

  1. OCEAN Medallion-enabled Royal Princess sails her maiden voyage around Cape Horn on a 49-day South America Grand Adventure – the cruise line’s largest ship ever to visit South America. Guests will experience the highly anticipated, wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network. (O•C•E•A•N), making possible a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.
  • Coral Princess sails a new 60-day Circle North Pacific voyage roundtrip Los Angeles, calling to 22 destinations in 8 countries, including Asia, Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Pacific Princess sails a new route on the 111-day World Cruise circumnavigating the Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
  • Two new 14- and 15-day Grand Asia voyages on Sapphire Princess sailing out of Shanghai and Singapore, complement the previously announced 14-day Majestic Grand Asia voyages on Princess Cruises’ newest ship, Majestic Princess.
  • MORE ASHORE evening stays and overnights will be offered on select itineraries in 18 ports across 5 continents.
  • Guests will enjoy bucket-list destination to more than 20 UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Sites, including Glacier Bay National Park, Singapore Botanical Gardens, Komodo National Park, Great Barrier Reef, Robben Island in Cape Town and more.

Princess’ 2018-2019 Exotics cruise program includes:

Asia: Coral Princess, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess

Guests can choose from three ships, sailing 18 itineraries to 34 destinations, from four homeports with 31 departures, ranging from three to 60 days.

Coral Princess debuts an epic 60-day Circle North Pacific voyage (roundtrip Los Angeles) that includes Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii, as well as the best of Alaska, including Glacier Bay Scenic Cruising, Juneau, Icy Strait Point and our first call to Kodiak in nearly a decade. Nine ports feature MORE ASHORE evening stays in Juneau, Tokyo (Yokohama), Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Beijing (Tianjin), Shanghai, Taipei (Keelung), Hong Kong and Honolulu. This voyage will also be offered as the following voyages:

  • 28-day Circle North Pacific: Los Angeles to Shanghai
  • 32-day Circle North Pacific: Shanghai to Los Angeles

Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess both return to homeport in Singapore together for a season of cruises ranging from three to 21 days, with stops in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

For the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays, Diamond Princess sails a 10-day Southeast Asia and 11-day Malaysian Peninsula & Indonesia voyage, which can be combined for a 21-day vacation.

Additionally, Sapphire Princess sails a 15-day Grand Asia voyage, featuring an overnight in Hong Kong. For the 2019 Lunar New Year, Sapphire Princess will be sailing a seven-day Vietnam & Thailand voyage (roundtrip Singapore).

South America: Royal Princess and Emerald Princess

In South America, two ships sailing seven itineraries to 25 destinations from 4 homeports, with 15 departures ranging from 14 to 49 days are offered.

OCEAN Medallion-enabled Royal Princess sails her maiden voyage to South America on a 49-day South America Grand Adventure, sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles. In addition, Emerald Princess returns to South America, navigating around Cape Horn on five departures between Santiago (Valparaiso) and Buenos Aires.

Royal Princess and Emerald Princess both feature Peru, Chile and an overland to Machu Picchu on the 16-day Andes & South America cruises between Los Angeles and Santiago (Valparaiso), which can be combined with a 14-day Cape Horn cruise for a 30-day Andes & Cape Horn Grand Adventure.

Both ships also sail 19-day Brazilian Adventure cruises between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires, which can be combined with the 14-day Cape Horn cruises for a 33-day Cape Horn & Brazil Grand Adventure.

World Cruise: Pacific Princess

Pacific Princess offers a 111-day World Cruise voyage roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale, with 41 destinations, in 27 countries on 5 continents, featuring a circumnavigation around the Cape of Good Hope with overnights in Cape Town and Singapore.

The cruise includes three maiden ports of call to Stewart Island (New Zealand), the remote island of St. Helena (U.K. territory) and Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre).

For a shorter world voyage, Pacific Princess offers the opportunity to sail a 96-day World Cruise embarking in Los Angeles and disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale. Princess Cruises also offers the opportunity to join the World Cruise for a portion of the journey including a 72-day South Pacific & Indian Ocean, 43-day Australia & Africa, 39-day Africa, South America & Panama Canal, 29-day Hawaii & South Pacific, 24-day Africa & South America and a choice of two 15-day Panama Canal Connoisseur voyages sailing between Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale.

 

Cruisetours 

To further enhance the cruise vacation, Princess Cruises is pleased to offer two cruisetours for South America on Emerald Princess and Royal Princess.

During the Iguazú Falls Adventure cruisetour, guests visit Rio de Janeiro with a full-day sightseeing tour taking them to Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue. The tour continues into the jungle at the border of Brazil and Argentina to incredible Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Machu Picchu Explorer cruisetour, guests ascend into the Andes to magical Machu Picchu, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and visit the historic city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley with sightseeing to Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and an authentic Pisac Market.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Star Trek: The Cruise II set for two voyages in 2018 with host George Takei

May 9, 2017

"Star Trek" actor George Takei
George Takei (Photo courtesy of CBS Studios)

The following is an excerpt from a Star Trek: The Cruise II press release:

Star Trek: The Cruise II has commissioned an entire crew of fan favorites to man the ship when it launches two voyages in January 2018.  Host George Takei (who played Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series and several “Star Trek” movies) will be joined by nearly 20 stars from the film and television productions of the groundbreaking franchise, including Vaughn Armstrong, Rene Auberjonois, Casey Biggs, LeVar Burton, Jeffrey Combs, Michael Dorn, John de Lancie, Jonathan Frakes, Max Grodenchik, Gates McFadden, Robert O’Reilly, John Paladin, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Armin Shimerman, Brent Spiner, Connor Trinneer, and Nana Visitor.  Star Trek fans aboard the cruises will spend a week among the iconic actors, interacting with them during inspired events and impromptu encounters.  Produced by Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC, under license by CBS Consumer Products, Voyage 1 of Star Trek: The Cruise II will sail from January 5-11, 2018, with Voyage 2 following January 11-17, 2018, both traveling from Miami to Roatan (Honduras), Harvest Caye (Belize) and Costa Maya (Mexico).

The six-day voyage on the spectacular Norwegian Jade boldly goes where no one has gone before, packed with special Star Trek-themed shows, events and programs including:

  • A stellar crew of iconic Star Trek actors and personalities
  • Incredible theme nights like Captain Sulu’s Soiree
  • Interactive celebrity hosted events like the Klingon Pub Crawl, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and more
  • Actor-led excursions at each port
  • Vow renewals led by a Star Trek star
  • Nightly shows performed by celebrity guests
  • Autograph and photograph sessions with your favorite Star Trek crew members
  • A Star Trek: The Cruise Museum exhibiting genuine pieces and classic memorabilia from the archive
  • A make-up artist transforming guests into Star Trek characters
  • Live music including avant-garde synth pop band Information Society

Almost every event includes an interactive element which makes the Voyage a unique, personal and immersive Star Trek experience.

“This will be the most interactive experience ever created between Star Trek fans and actors,” says Star Trek: The Cruise II host George Takei. “Come aboard and experience the voyage!” Every guest aboard Star Trek: The Cruise II will be offered the opportunity to take a group photo with the icon (one per cabin).

The ship will be redesigned to feature sites inspired by the television show and films, including “Sandrine’s II,” the sister restaurant of Chez Sandrine (Star Trek: Voyager), and “13 Forward” (the Officer’s Bar influenced by 10 Forward and best described by Captain Picard as the “hub of the ship’s social activity”).

Over 4,000 fans have already pre-registered for cabins aboard the 2018 cruises, with both expected to sell out.  Cabin prices start at $1,300 (U.S. dollars) per person, and include all meals, tickets to main-stage events, parties as well as port charges, taxes and on-board gratuities.

Royal Caribbean International reveals roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries; first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region to set sail in 2019

April 26, 2017

Royal Caribbean

The following is a press release from Royal Caribbean International:

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

With nearly a decade since Royal Caribbean’s first cruise in China, the cruise line further bolsters its commitment to the market by dedicating a lineup of its most technologically advanced ships to the rapidly growing market. The new ship will specifically be designed for guests in the region, featuring even more cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017.  Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night adventures throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.

The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.

Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.
2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights

Adventures from China and Singapore

Available to book April 26 and April 27, 2017

  • Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
    • 6-night Japan itinerary: Visiting the historic city of Nagasaki and overnighting in Okinawa, Japan, guests can dive into  the unique culture of the nation’s southernmost prefecture
    • 8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Showcasing the best of the nation with stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering a rich lineup to explore the best of Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki. The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
    • 5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will venture to what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
    • 7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Guest uncover far-flung locales in Japan, including the scenic ports of Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering countless adventures across Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018. Itinerary highlights include:
    • 4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket, Malaysia, a hub of vibrant neighborhoods and heritage architecture
    • 5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to far-flung destinations, including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam, guests will discover a country of breathtaking beauty and a storied past 

Journeys in Australia and South Pacific

Available to book May 16, 2017

  • Ovation of the Seasthe largest and most technologically advanced ship to sail in Australian waters – will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
    • 10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s endemic wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
    • 14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this Fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
  • Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries venturing out into Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
    • New – 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit various captivating destinations throughout the Tasman Sea.
  • Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for her fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:

12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of exotic destinations, including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.

Caribbean Princess cruise ship unveils extensive renovations

March 28, 2017

Caribbean Princess multi-million-dollar renovation that will be available when the ship is set to sail again on April 6, 2017. The renovation is Princess Cruises‘ largest food and beverage innovation to ever take place during a drydock. Guests will be offered seven new onboard dining destinations.

According to a Princess press release:

The new dining options aboard Caribbean Princess include:

World Fresh Marketplace World Fresh Marketplace (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)
World Fresh Marketplace (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

World Fresh Marketplace – Replacing Horizon Court (deck 14), World Fresh Marketplace unveils a completely new look and improved layout, featuring freshly-made regional specialties and well-balanced food choices:

  • Breakfast will include 24-hour cereal stations; a designer pancake station with “pancake of the day” stacks; unique hot cereal offerings such as shrimp & grits and polenta porridge.
  • Lunch serves up signature hand-crafted sandwiches, regionally inspired dishes and soups, as well as carvery selections of specialty sausages, hams and roast meats.
  • Dinner selections include breakfast at night with omelets and chicken & waffles, family kitchen comfort foods and a kid-friendly PB&J bar. Night-time offerings will also include a live-action station with stir-fry and customized pasta, plus composed salad choices.
New Planks BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)
New Planks BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Two Casual Specialty Restaurants – Café Caribe (deck 14 aft) transforms into two new, casual evening specialty restaurants great for families with kids who want to enjoy a special meal in a nice, yet laid back setting. These options include:

  • Planks BBQ – serving up family-style “Planks” of loaded ribs, beef, sausages and chicken plus all the fixings – fries, chili, coleslaw, charred toast and dill pickles. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include savory customizable breakfast bowls and signature soup, freshly tossed salads and fork & knife sandwiches.
  • Steamers Seafood – offers east coast-style Steamers with regional flair including Black & Blue Mussels, Scallops & Sausage, Classic Clams, Shrimp and Sausage and Broiled Scallops, Shrimp and Crab-stuffed Flounder. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. A delectable lobster tail and King Crab legs can be added for $10. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include specialty egg dishes and ramen bowls with regionally-inspired broths.
Steamers Seafood (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)
Steamers Seafood (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Top-Deck Dining Venues – Four Princess top-deck outdoor dining offerings will be revitalized, renamed and enhanced, including:

  • The Salty Dog Grill (formerly Trident Grill) – guests can indulge in “The Ernesto” burger, voted “#1 Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic from Chef Ernesto Uchimura, as well as signature Princess burgers grilled up with 100 percent handmade beef patties and buns. In addition, guests can choose new Street Tacos of grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile with corn tortillas. Loaded fries in tempting varieties include chili cheese and bacon & cheese. Classic hot dogs round out the menu offerings.
  • Slice (formerly Pizzeria) – featuring west coast and east coast offerings, Princess guests will enjoy award-winning signature classic Neapolitan-style pizza. New menu items include Deep Dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese, California Artisanal Toast including Cali-Avocado or Caprese, as well as Sliced Stromboli, an east coast take on an Italian calzone filled with deli meats and cheese.
  • Coffee & Cones (formerly Scoops) offering treats of gourmet ice-cream sandwiches, complimentary ice cream cones and now brewing specialty coffee on the top deck, serving New Grounds Crafted Coffee.
  • The Mix (formerly Blackbeard’s Bar) – the poolside bar will be updated and redesigned with vibrant colors (full designs will be completed by fall 2017).

In addition to the food and beverage innovations, Caribbean Princess will emerge from drydock with new offerings appealing to families, including Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers, upgraded Movies Under the Stars, Princess Luxury Bed and interconnecting staterooms, just in time for the upcoming Europe summer and fall Caribbean seasons. The cruise ship will also be wired for the Ocean Medallion launch that will be available for the 2018 summer Caribbean season.